Taking care of your baby involves a lot of things. From giving them baths to keeping their clothes fresh and clean, the list is seemingly endless. One of them is cutting their nails on time. Cutting your baby’s nails, especially if you are doing it for the first time, may seem scary and daunting.
Here are some steps to guide you:
Which tool/s can you use to cut nails?
- Files: This option is best for babies who are very young, like under a month or so. Files are the safest bet if you are nervous. There is minimal chance of scraping or bleeding here.
- Clippers: Most adults use clippers to take off their own nails, so it makes sense if you are most comfortable with using these to clip your baby’s nails as well. There are clippers available in the market that are designed especially for your baby’s tiny little fingernails. These also come with handles that are big so that you have a wider and better grip.
The best time to cut nails
Whenever you feel your baby is at their calmest and in a very relaxed state, that is probably the best time for you to get on this task. Even a little fuss on their side can confuse and derail your movement. Thus, make sure your baby is still, calm, and composed. Distract them with a song, or ask another family member to assist you by talking to the baby through it. If possible, you can cut their nails right after they take a bath. This is the time when their nails have soaked in water long enough to be softer and easier to cut as compared to other times of the day.
How to trim your baby’s nails
- Try to minimize your baby’s ability to move about for these few minutes.
- Put them in a rocker, etc. and talk them through it so that they are not as nervous.
- The next thing you need to do after putting your baby in a still and comfortable position is to get a good grip on their finger.
- Now, be gentle as you exert some force to push the skin back so as to create more space to use your trimmer easily.
- When you start clipping, go as little by little as possible.
- Stop the trimming when you reach the nail line that is white in color.
You can file the trimmed nails to give them a smooth finish. It will also remove jagged ends and sharp edges as well. When you move down to cut the toenails, do so in a straight fashion. You should not do it in a curve like a manner. The rest of the process is the same as above.
Where should you do it?
Choose a place around the house you feel most comfortable in. As mentioned, you can put your baby in a rocker or on your lap too. You can also do this on the bed while your baby sleeps. The place you choose should work for you. Place a newspaper underneath the baby’s hands and feet so that the nails cut are collected there and not spread all over the house. Check for any residual pieces afterward too, for the baby may find them and put them in their mouth. You also should have adequately bright lighting around you when you are cutting their nails. Even if the baby is asleep, a direct source of light is a safety precaution you cannot overlook.
How often do you need to do it?
In order to maintain proper hygiene and to prevent your baby from scratching themselves or others, it is necessary to carry out this task periodically. Babies’ nails grow very fast. Usually, adults may clip their nails twice or so in a month. But for babies, parents often say they have cut their nails even twice in a week. These nails are still growing and developing the strength so that they are not as brittle over time. So take the time out to cut your little one’s nails as soon as you see some growth. This is also important as their hands and fingers are still developing – their fine and gross motor skills are not as strong for them to be able to consciously control their movements and prevent scratches.
What to do if you cut too deep?
First of all, you do not have to freak out or panic. This is something all parents who have cut their baby’s nails have done at some point in their journey. You should rinse the finger thoroughly in a gentle manner with clean water. Then wrap the finger in order to control the bleeding. You can do so with a tissue. Do not use a band-aid – it may be convenient but not safe for babies.
Things not to do to cut nails
There may be times when you are sitting with your baby and notice a slight growth in their nails from the last time you cut them. And instead of getting the tools you use to cut them usually, you may take their fingers and bite the extra bit of nails off. Do not do this at any cost. It is unhygienic, unsafe, and a bad idea in every single aspect. You might end up infecting your baby’s fingers, and also cause a viral wound. Not only that, it will not give a smooth finish at all to their nails, thus leaving behind edges they can scratch themselves with.
Small portions of the nails may stand out and it may look like tearing them off would do the job just as well as a nail clipper. Well, the answer is no. This type of approach can cause a bad growth of the baby’s nails and lead to ingrowth, which is often very painful, or even an infection. Thus, stick to the tools you picked out at the start of this article every time you see a growth and decide the nails need trimming.